Leaders and representatives of at least 120 member countries of the NAM are meeting in Baku.
“I would also like to bring to this occasion the fate that awaits our poor Palestinian brothers. Palestine remains occupied by a brutal regime. This regime continues to expand illegal settlements on land that rightfully belongs to the Palestinians,” he stated.
Mohammad added “it is unfortunate that a world organisation set up by powerful nations now sees those very people ignoring the resolutions of that world body. Now, we see others doing the same.”
Meanwhile, he criticised Israel for its plans to annex parts of the West Bank, as well as claiming Jerusalem as its capital.
“Many western countries are supporting this move by relocating, or vowing to relocate, their embassies there. Malaysia does not agree with this,” he explained.
Mohammad called on NAM member countries that have relocated their Israeli embassies to Jerusalem, or are planning to do so, to reconsider their decision.
The Israeli occupation government is planning to suspend exports and imports with the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, due to the Palestinian decision to suspend imports of Israeli calves, Al-Wattan Voice reported on Friday.
According to the Israeli Public Broadcaster CAN, Al-Watan Voice have revealed that Israel is proposing to stop passing commodities from abroad to the occupied Palestinian Territories, as well as prohibiting the export of olive oil and dates from the Occupied Territories.
“We are stuck with tens of thousands of calves, in which we invested tens of millions, which have reached the weight that they’re ready to sell, and we can’t do anything with them,” Doron Beidich, chairman of the Association of Calf Raisers, told Al-Monitor.
“A whole economic branch that provides for hundreds of families is on the brink of collapse,” he announced. “We are talking about 400 families and 5,000 people employed indirectly, who make a living from this industry.”
The PA’s decision to ban the purchase of calves from Israel is reportedly part of a drive led by Shtayyeh, to disengage from the Israeli economy.
At least five Palestinians suffocated, today, as Israeli forces quelled a peaceful protest in al-Humma area, in the northern Jordan Valley, said WAFA correspondence.
The non-violent gathering was called for by the anti-wall and settlement committee and the Fateh movement, in Tubas, to protest against the continued settlement expansion of the northern Jordan Valley area.
Forces fired a barrage of tear gas canisters and stun grenades to disperse protesters, causing at least five people to suffocate due to tear gas inhalation.
An elderly reportedly sustained bruises throughout his body after being physically assaulted by soldiers, which necessitated his transfer to hospital.
Forces also briefly held a number of journalists and prevented them from covering the protest. They further prevented an ambulance from reaching the area and took the key out of the engine and kept it.
To be noted, Palestinians in al-Humma area are subjected to almost daily attacks by Israeli settlers residing in nearby illegal settlements.
Israeli authorities have transferred a Jordanian woman who is being held at a detention center in the occupied territories, to a hospital, following a deterioration in her health condition more than a month after she went on hunger strike, in protest against her administrative detention.
Sufyan al-Qudah, a spokesman for Jordan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, said, in a statement published on his Twitter page, that Heba Abdel-Baqi Labadi had been taken to hospital on Thursday, and provided with the necessary treatment before being returned to prison on the same day.
“Heba’s health condition is now stable,” Qudah affirmed.
Ahmad al-Labadi, the Jordanian woman’s father, said, in statements to the Palestinian Arabic-language Quds Press news agency, that his daughter is currently suffering from fatigue, dizziness and heart-related complications.
On October 18, the Jordanian foreign minister rejected a ruling by an Israeli military court to extend the detention of Labadi as illegal and invalid.
Qudah said, at the time, that his ministry had informed the Israeli side of its complete rejection of the verdict, and called for the immediate release of the Jordanian woman.
On October 14, Qudah said that Jordan’s Ambassador to Tel Aviv, Walid Obeidat, had demanded the immediate release of Labadi and Abdurrahman Marei, and their repatriation, in his meetings and frequent contacts with Israeli officials, Jordan’s official news agency Petra reported.
The spokesman for the Jordanian foreign ministry added that Amman rejects the Israeli authorities’ decision to arrest the two. Amman, he added, follows up on their case on a daily basis, and has instructed its diplomats in Tel Aviv to visit them periodically.
Labadi holds a Palestinian identity card. She was arrested on August 20, when she crossed the King Hussein Bridge, also known as the Allenby Bridge, which crosses the Jordan River near the Palestinian city of Ariha and connects the West Bank with Jordan, with her mother and aunt, on their way to a relative’s wedding in the northern West Bank city of Jenin.
According to her attorney, Raslan Mahajna, she is suspected of meeting with people affiliated to the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah during trips to Beirut, both last year and early this year.
Mahajna added that Labadi often voices her views against the Israeli regime’s occupation of Palestinian territories, on social media networks.
“She was interrogated intensively for 35 days, and in the end, there was no basis for indicting her, so she was slapped with an administrative detention order,” he said.
“She’s been on hunger strike, because, in her view, this was an arbitrary, unjustified arrest.”
Labadi is reportedly being held at Kishon prison, also known as the al-Jalame detention center.
During the reporting period, PCHR documented 129 violations of the international human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) by Israeli occupation forces (IOF) and settlers in the occupied Palestinian territory.
As part of the Israeli violations of the right to life and bodily integrity: on 18 October 2019, Israeli occupation forces killed a Palestinian civilian at Jbarah military checkpoint, south of Tulkarm, after they fired a barrage of live bullets at him and denied him first aid. IOF claimed that the victim attempted to carry out a stab attack. PCHR’s investigations and eyewitnesses’ statements refuted the Israeli claim and affirmed that the victim did not have a sharp tool with him and that he was en route to deliver olives for his relatives in Israel.
In the Gaza Strip, IOF wounded 100 Palestinian civilians, including 46 children, 2 women and 3 volunteer paramedics on the 79th Friday of the Great March of Return (GMR). Meanwhile in the West Bank, IOF wounded 10 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children and a photojournalist: 5 in clashes with IOF in Nablus; 3 near the annexation wall; and 2 in an IOF attack on their vehicle in al-Am’ari refugee camp.
For the past three weeks, shooting incidents escalated against Palestinian civilians attempting to sneak into Israel without permits through the annexation wall, north of the West Bank.
As part of the Israeli incursions and house raids, IOF carried out 63 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Those incursions include raids of civilian houses and shootings, enticing fear among civilians, arresting and/or injuring many others. During this week’s incursions, 56 Palestinians were arrested, including 3 children, a woman and a foreign activist.
In the Gaza Strip, 6 shootings were reported against Palestinian fishing boats at sea within the allowed limited area for fishing while 3 shootings were reported against the agricultural lands in eastern Gaza Strip.
Under the settlement expansion activities in the West Bank, PCHR documented 7 settler-attacks against farmers in the olive season in addition to incursions into al-Aqsa Mosque yards under IOF’ protection.
In terms of the Israeli closure policy, the Gaza Strip still suffers the worst closure in the History of the Israeli occupation of the oPt as it has entered the 14th consecutive year, without any improvement to the movement of persons and goods and ongoing isolation of the Gaza Strip from the West Bank and the rest of the world. Meanwhile, the West Bank is divided into separate cantons with key roads blocked by the Israeli occupation since the Second Intifada and with temporary and permanent checkpoints, where civilians’ movement is restricted and others are arrested.
Moreover, on 21 October 2019, Israel closed Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing in both directions for Jewish Holidays.
Violation of the right to life and to bodily integrity
Excessive Use of Force against the Great March of Return in the Gaza Strip
IOF continued its excessive use of lethal force against GRM peaceful demonstrations organized by Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.
On 18 October 2019, IOF wounded 100 civilians, including 46 children, 2 women and 3 volunteer paramedics in the 79th Friday titled: “No to Normalization with Israel.” This week witnessed an increase in injuries, particularly children, comparing with last week’s. A young man sustained serious injuries and 36 others were shot with live bullets and their shrapnel in addition to other injuries in the upper body due to direct targeting with rubber bullets and tear gas canisters.
Civilians took part in GRM protests in the five encampments across the Gaza Strip. The protests lasted from 15:00 to 19:00 and involved activities such as speeches and theatrical performances. Hundreds of civilians protested at varied distances from the border fence across the Gaza Strip, where some protestors attempted to throw stones, Molotov Cocktails and firecrackers at IOF, who responded with excessive force.
The incidents were as follows:
Northern Gaza Strip: 24 civilians injured, including 16 children: 6 with live bullets and shrapnel, 13 with rubber bullets and 5 were hit with tear gas canisters.
Gaza City: 23 civilians, including 10 children and a volunteer paramedic were injured: 7 with live bullets and shrapnel; 11 with rubber bullets and 5 with teargas canisters. The wounded paramedic, Shukri Nafeth Esleem (23), was shot with a rubber bullet to the foot.
Central Gaza Strip: 22 civilians, including 9 children, 2 women and a paramedic were injured by IOF: 10 shot with live bullets, 8 hit with teargas canisters and 4 shot with a rubber bullet. The wounded volunteer paramedic ‘Amer Jamal Anwar Abu Jumeizah (30), from Deir al-Balah, was hit with a tear gas canister to the back and he received medical treatment in the field.
Khan Younis: 6 civilians, including 2 children and a paramedic, were wounded, and all of them were transferred to hospitals. Among those wounded, 2 civilians sustained shrapnel wounds, and 3 were shot with rubber bullets. In addition, many civilians sustained superficial rubber bullet wounds and others suffocated due to tear gas inhalation; they received treatment on the spot. The wounded paramedic, Asa’ad Mohammed Abu Ghalwah (30), from Khan Younis, sustained a shrapnel wound to the abdomen.
Rafah: 25 civilians were injured by IOF fire, including 11 children and a young man who sustained serious wounds: 11 were shot with live bullets and shrapnel, 13 were shot with rubber bullets, and one was directly hit with a tear gas canister. Iyad Ibrahim Hussein Zanoun (24), was shot with a live bullet to the back and was deemed in a critical condition.
Excessive use of force against peaceful protests in the West Bank:
At approximately 13:30 on Friday, 18 October 2019, Palestinians from Kufor Qaddoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah, launched their weekly peaceful protest against the closure of their village’s eastern entrance by IOF for the past 15 years in favor of “Kedumim” settlement. The demonstrators chanted national slogans demanding an end to the occupation and protested IOF crimes against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The protestors threw stones at the Israeli soldiers stationed behind sand berms; the latter fired live and rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at protestor. As a result, a number of civilians suffered tear gas inhalation. The soldiers also chased the protestors and arrested a 24-year-old Spanish activist.
Shooting and other violations of the right to life and bodily integrity
At approximately 19:20 on Friday, 18 October 2019, Israeli security guards (private companies) stationed at Jubarah military checkpoint, south of Tulkarm, opened fire at Ra’ad Majed Mohammed al-Bahri (25), from Kafer Zebad village, south of the city, claiming that he attempted to carry out a stab attack. As a result, al-Bahri sustained severe wounds and was left to bleed to death by IOF, who banned ambulance crews from reaching al-Bahri and saving his life.
An eyewitness told PCHR’s fieldworker:
“At approximately 19:00 on Friday, 18 October 2019, my family and I were en route from our house in Tulkarm, in the West Bank, to our house in al-Taiba in Israel through Jbara checkpoint. Traffic was normal and few vehicles were driving in front of me when an Israeli security guard heavily opened fire at a young Palestinian man who was on the ground. I heard other drivers, who were closer to the scene, shouting at the security guard – saying that the victim did nothing, and asking why he killed him. The drivers added that perhaps the young man reached into his pocket to get his permit, as he was about 30 meters when the guard fired about 7 live bullets at him. The soldiers ordered the drivers to move away, but none of them responded. After a while, the Palestinian and Israeli ambulances arrived at the area, but the soldiers banned both ambulances to rescue al-Bahri, claiming that he attempted to carry out a stab attack. We stayed in the area for an hour and a half until al-Bahri’s death was pronounced without allowing anyone to resuscitate him.”
Al-Bahri’s brother, Abdul Rahman al-Bahri (30) said:
“We do not know how all this happened. My brother worked with us in olives harvest all day and then we returned home, took a bath and dined. Ra’ad went out to deliver some olives to our cousin who lives in Israel at Jabara checkpoint as is usually done in our area. She told me that Ra’ad threw his personal belongings to her when he delivered her the olives; she called after him several times, but he did not listen to her and walked away towards the checkpoint. At approximately 20:00, we learnt of the incident and that my brother was killed. We did not notice anything strange in my brother’s attitude and did not know if he intended to do such a thing. We agreed that he would deliver olives to our cousin and then return home because we still have more work. He said that when he return, we will continue our work, but he never came back.”
At approximately 04:00 on Thursday, 17 October 2019, dozens of buses carrying settlers under the protection of IOF entered “Joseph’s Tomb” in the eastern side of Nablus to pray. Meanwhile, a number of civilians gathered and threw stones and empty bottles at Israeli soldiers and settlers. The soldiers responded with live bullets and tear gas canisters at them. Severe confrontations erupted between the soldiers and the civilians and continued until the early morning. As a result, 5 civilians were shot: 3 with live bullets; a child and a photojournalist were shot with rubber bullets. In addition, many others sustained tear gas inhalation. The wounded civilians were identified as:
Mohammed Walid Ibrahim ‘Amoudi (24), from Nablus, was shot with a live bullet to the left leg;
Iyad Husein Khalil Abu Ja’isah (18), from Nablus, was shot with a live bullet to the left leg;
Abdullah Sharif Mustafa Abdul Razeq (24), from Tubas, was shot with a live bullet in the right foot;
Khalil Ayman Mohammed Hashash (16), from Balata refugee camp, was shot with a rubber bullet to the right foot; and
Samer Mustafa Habash (35), a photojournalist from Nablus, was shot with a rubber bullet in the abdomen and he received medical treatment on the spot.
At approximately 05:00 on Thursday as well, an Israeli military vehicle suddenly collided with a Palestinian civilian vehicle driven by 2 civilians at a bystreet near “Haboub” square, after it withdrew from al-Am’ari refugee camp, south of Ramallah. The soldiers directly opened fire at the vehicle, injuring both civilians, from Jerusalem, and totally smashing the vehicle’s glass. A Palestinian ambulance of the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) that was in the area attempted to transfer the wounded civilians, but the soldiers banned them from reaching them, fired a sound bomb at them and then arrested the 2 civilians. PCHR’s investigations indicated that the 2 civilians were later transferred to a hospital in Israel.
At approximately 06:00 on the same day, IOF stationed at the annexation wall in the West Bank opened fire at Omer Jamal Obeid (23), from ‘Araba village, southwest of Jenin. As a result, Obeid was shot with a live bullet in the left leg while attempting to sneak into Israel through the gate of Thuhor al-‘Abed village, west of Ya’bud village, southwest of Jenin. Obeid was transferred to Khalil Suleiman Governmental Hospital to receive medical treatment.
At approximately 08:30 on the same day, IOF assigned to guard the annexation wall opened fire at Mohammed Ahmed Nawasrah (25), from Fahmah village, southwest of Jenin. As a result, Nawasrah was shot with 2 live bullets in the foot while attempting to sneak into Israel through the gate of Thuhor al-‘Abed village, west of Ya’bud village, southwest of Jenin. Nawasrah was transferred to Khalil Suleiman Governmental Hospital to receive medical treatment.
At approximately 13:00 on the same day, a number of Palestinian civilians gathered in al-Sahel agricultural area and in Tarmas’iyah village, east of Ramallah, and threw stones at Israeli settlers and soldiers, who were protecting the settlers. The soldiers chased the protestors between fields and fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them in an arbitrary manner. As a result, a number of protestors sustained tear gas inhalation. The soldiers also banned press crews from accessing the area and attacked photojournalist Mo’atasem Saqef al-Hait (28) physically and verbally. Furthermore, a military vehicle deliberately collided with the backside of an ambulance for the medical center in the village, denting it.
At approximately 08:10 on Thursday morning, Israeli gunboats stationed in western Jabalia shore in northern Gaza Strip, sporadically opened fire and chased Palestinian-fishing boats sailing within 3 – 5 nautical miles. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives; no casualties were reported.
At approximately 08:00 on Friday, 18 October 2019, IOF stationed in eastern Khan Younis border area, opened fire for few minutes; at agricultural lands in eastern Khan Younis; no casualties were reported.
At approximately 02:30 on Saturday, 19 October 2019, Israeli gunboats stationed in eastern Jabalia shore, and northwest of Beit Lahia in northern Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire and chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 – 5 nautical miles. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives; no casualties were reported.
At approximately 06:10, Israeli gunboats stationed in Western Jabalia shore and northwest of Beit Lahia in northern Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire and chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 – 5 nautical miles. The shooting recurred at approximately 06:40 on the same day. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives; no casualties were reported.
At approximately 07:00 on the same day, IOF stationed along the border fence northeast of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at a group of Palestinian civilians. As a result, Mohammed Ayman Mesbah Yusuf (18), from Jabalia, sustained minor wounds after being shot with a live bullet to the left leg. He was transferred to the Indonesian Hospital in Jabalia for treatment.
At approximately 07:30, Israeli gunboats stationed in northwest of Beit Lahia in northern Gaza Strip, chased and heavily opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives; no casualties were reported.
At approximately 06:25 on Sunday, 20 October 2019, Israeli gunboats stationed in northwest of Beit Lahia in northern Gaza Strip, opened fire and chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles. The shooting continued from time to time until 07:00 on the same day. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives; no casualties were reported.
At approximately 13:30 on Monday, 21 October 2019, IOF stationed at annexation wall, adjacent to al-Naqqar neighborhood, west of Qalqiliyah, fired live bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at a group of Palestinian children claiming that they threw stones at them. As a result, Abdul Rahman Majed Hasan (16) was shot with a live bullet to the left foot.
At approximately 06:00 on Tuesday, 22 October 2019, Israeli gunboats stationed in western Jabalia shore in northern Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire and chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles. The shooting recurred at approximately 09:00 on the same day. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives; no casualties were reported.
At approximately 08:30 on Tuesday, 22 October 2019, IOF stationed along the border fence, east of Khan Younis opened fire for few minutes at agricultural lands in eastern Khuza’ah village; no casualties were reported.
Settlement Expansion and settler violence in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem
Israeli Settler Violence
On Thursday, 17 October 2019, the Security Coordinator of “Efrat” settlement with dozens of armed settlers moved into al-Khader village, south of the city. They prevented Palestinian farmers from harvesting olive trees and ordered them to leave and not to come back until the Jewish Holidays end on Tuesday, 22 October 2019. Nader Subeih, a farmer who owns around 50 dunums near the gate to “Efrat” settlement, said that the settlement’s security coordinator known as Dida informed Palestinian farmers not to harvest the olive trees until the Jewish Holidays end. Subeih clarified that the coordinator dictated terms and enforced them at gunpoint; Palestinian farmers are forcibly denied staying at their lands after 16:00, effectively forcing them to start their work by 05:30. Subieh added that he is denied harvesting olive trees because he is only 43 years old, and IOF permits access to civilians above 50 only. Subieh added that the Israeli settlers break into the Palestinian farmers’ lands from time to time and search their belongings, provocatively obstructing their work.
At approximately 11:40 on Friday, 18 October 2019, at least 17 Israeli settlers, from “Beit El” settlement attacked Palestinian farmers with stones and sticks while harvesting olive trees in al-Sha’b area, under the Israeli forces’ protection. As a result, 3 farmers sustained bruises. The farmers were expelled from their lands at gunpoint amidst Israeli forces’ firing sound bombs. The Israeli settlers seized the entire harvest.
At approximately 13:30 on Saturday, 19 October 2019, a group of Israeli settlers, from “Ronim” settlement, threw stones at Palestinian farmers while harvesting olive trees in Karem ‘Eid area, southeast of Nablus. As a result, 2 farmers were hit with stones. The Israeli forces later intervened to secure the settlers and expel the farmers from their lands. The Israeli settlers seized the crops and other tools. The wounded farmers were identified as Presley Dakheel ‘Abed al-‘Aziz ‘Eid (44), who was hit with a stone in his right hand; and his brother Bashar (47), who was hit with a stone in his right shoulder.
At approximately 14:00 on Saturday, 19 October 2019, a group of Israeli settlers, from “Ala” settlement, threw stones at Palestinian farmers while harvesting olive trees in Batisha area and beat them, under the Israeli forces’ protection. The farmers were beaten up and expelled from their lands.
At approximately 07:00 on Sunday, 20 October 2019, at least 40 Israeli settlers raided al-Aqsa Mosque yards in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City on the 7th day of Sukkot Jewish Holiday. Furthermore, Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian young man near al-Rahma Mosque and summoned 6 others for interrogation. The Islamic Endowments (Awqaf) Department in Jerusalem stated that settlers raided the mosque in the early morning via al-Maghareba Gate and performed prayers. The Department pointed out that the Israeli police imposed tightened restrictions on Palestinians while entering the mosque, checked their IDs and detained some of them at the mosque’s gates. During the raid, Israeli police arrested ‘Alaa Monther Najeeb (19) who was near al-Rahma Mosque and handed 6 other Palestinians summonses to refer to al-Qashlah Police Station in the Old City for interrogation. They were identified as Moneer ‘Abdullah al-Basti (24), Ibrahim Moahmed al-Natsha (23), Mohamed Yazan Shareef (21), Ghaith Naser Ghaith (27), Laith Naser Ghaith (24), and Foad Bassam al-Shawish (31). According to the Islamic Endowments Department, at least 2700 settlers raided al-Aqsa Mosque during the Sukkot Jewish Holiday.
At approximately 07:30 on Monday, 21 October 2019, hundreds of Israeli settlers raided al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City on the 8th day of Sukkot Jewish Holiday, and the Israeli forces arrested 5 Palestinians, including 2 women, near al-Selselah Gate after pushing and beating them.
The Islamic Endowments Department clarified that at least 122 settlers raided the al-Aqsa Mosque in the early morning via al-Maghareba Gate, under the tight protection by IOF. The settlers performed prayers in the mosque’s yards, especially at al-Rahma Gate while the Israeli soldiers were pushing and beating up the Palestinian men and women at the Selselah Gate. Five of them were arrested: ‘Aydah Mohamed al-Sidawi (59), Wa’d Khalil (32), Tarweq Mohamed Da’our (23), Mohamed Foad Abu Shosha (23), and Habeeb Abu Shosha (19).
At approximately 15:00 on Wednesday, 23 October 2019, around 12 settlers, from Halmish Settlement established on the lands of Ramallah’s northwestern villages and under the Israeli occupation forces’ protection attacked and threw stones at the Palestinian farmers who were harvesting olives in al-Ghabt area in the outskirts of Um Safa village, northwest of Ramallah. The Israeli soldiers forced the farmers to leave their lands by pushing them at gunpoint.
Geneva (QNN)- The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor sent a letter today to the United Nations, expressing deep concern at a recent decision by the Palestinian Authority to ban 59 Palestinian and Arab websites, including QNN websites.
“As you know, the PA banned 59 online news websites last week, based on article 39 of the controversial cybercrime law, instated by the PA in 2018,” the Euro-Med’s letter says, which was sent to Mr. David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
“[article 39 of the cybercrime law] allows the attorney general to flag any online outlets that endanger national security, general order and norms. The 59 websites in question were found to be critical of the PA president Mahmoud Abbas,” the letter states.
All banned websites are critical to the PA, while no Israeli websites are included. However, the PA claims that they harm the civil peace.
In 2017, a similar step was taken against nearly 30 websites, including QNN.
The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor also criticized the cybercrime law for its “ambiguous and elusive language”, which “enables the PA to take arbitrary measures against critical voices, press serious charges against them and sentence them harshly and disproportionately.”
United Nations (QNN)- The UN independent expert on human rights in the Palestinian territories has called for an international ban on all products made in Israeli settlements as a step to potentially ending Israel’s illegal occupation.
Michael Lynk told the General Assembly’s human rights committee that the international community should also issue a “clarion call to the United Nations” to complete and release a database “on businesses engaged in activities related to the illegal settlements.”
The Israeli Foreign Ministry declined to comment.
Lynk said the international community has a responsibility and a legal obligation to compel Israel to completely end its occupation and remove barriers to self-determination for the Palestinians.
Israel opposes the Palestinian-led international boycott movement, which it views as an attack on its existence.
Supporters of the boycott say it is a non-violent way of protesting against Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.
Lynk also pointed to the severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which he called “a human-made catastrophe” and “an injustice that should be near the top of the world’s agenda to end”.
Lynk said the economic situation there “continues to move from dire to acute to unimaginable”, with over half of Gaza’s population “food insecure”, the unemployment rate over 50 percent, and 70 percent of Gazans younger than 30 without work.
He also noted that hundreds of Palestinian peaceful protesters were killed while 33,000 were wounded in the weekly protests. Even so, the occupation state continues to kill and maim Palestinians due to the lack of accountability.
“Israel has demonstrated virtually no accountability to address these actions,” Lynk said.
Lynk, who is a Canadian law professor, said Israel’s occupation of territory the Palestinians want for their own state has been characterised by numerous and serious violations of international law, but “the international community has displayed great unwillingness to impose any meaningful accountability on Israel”.
“No occupation in the modern world,” Lnyk said, “has been conducted with the international community so alert to its many grave breaches of international law, so knowledgeable about the occupier’s obvious and well-signalled intent to annex and establish permanent sovereignty, so well-informed about the scale of suffering and dispossession endured by the protected population under occupation, and yet so unwilling to act upon the overwhelming evidence before it to employ the tangible and plentiful legal and political tools at its disposal to end the injustice.”
He called for “bold measures and the determination to enforce accountability,” starting with an international agreement on “a complete ban on the export of all products made in the illegal Israeli settlements in the world market”.
“Accountability is the key to unlocking the titanium cage that is the endless occupation,” he said. “Now is the time for the international community to turn the key,” he added.
Occupied Palestine (QNN)- Israeli authorities on Thursday released Anadolu Agency’s photojournalist Mustafa Kharouf from Giv’on Prison in the occupied city of Ramallah after spending 10 months in detention.
Kharouf was released after the Israeli authorities failed to deport him from the Palestinian territory.
Until Thursday morning, the Israeli prosecution attempted to block Kharouf’s release but they failed, according to AA.
“It’s good to be out,” said Kharouf as he embraced his 2-year-old daughter. While he was in prison, he had only been able to see her through glass during visiting hours.
His lawyer, Ady Lustigman, told Anadolu Agency that the Israeli Interior Ministry tried to keep him in jail but the prison appeals court rejected the ministry’s request.
According to Lustigman, Kharouf’s family paid bail to the Israeli immigration authorities.
She added that the Israeli prosecution has given Kharouf a 21-day period for “family unification” which can be extended.
Also, she pointed out that “Kharouf is still threatened by deportation and detention despite his release.”
Kharuf was arrested in January from his East Jerusalem home and charged with illegal residency, even though he has lived in Jerusalem for 20 years. He is married to an East Jerusalem resident, and his father was born in the city. During his imprisonment, the government tried unsuccessfully to have him deported to Jordan.
American justice system is being dictated by Zionist or pro-Zionist lobbies in order to crackdown on those who work to put read on mouths of poor Palestinians.
Qatari envoy Mohammed Al-Emadi arrived in the Gaza Strip last weekend with $180 million to distribute among Palestinians in need. In Gaza’s case, that means virtually the whole population as they lurch from one humanitarian crisis to another thanks to the brutal siege imposed by Israel on one side and Egypt on the other.
The cash from Qatar is needed desperately to cover fuel for electricity, salaries and financial aid for Palestinian families struggling to live under the siege. The special delivery will come as no surprise to Israel, because Qatar announced back in May that it would send $480 million to the occupied West Bank and Gaza to “aid the brotherly Palestinian people in obtaining their basic needs.”
The money has flowed in with support (no doubt reluctant) from Tel Aviv, which has entered into an “unofficial” Egypt-brokered truce with Hamas, which still basically governs the Gaza Strip. The money will be used to pay Palestinian Authority civil servants and has allowed the UN to step up aid efforts.
However, the fact that this is happening at all is hugely significant and should now be used as evidence to bring an end to the Kafkaesque drama which saw five Palestinian Americans jailed in what has been described as one of the worst ever cases of miscarriages of justice in the United States.
The drama started in 2004 when the FBI along with the US Treasury Department and a bunch of assorted police forces from Texas and California arrested officials at the Holy Land Foundation in dawn raids. The “HLF Five” were — still are — Shukri Abu Baker, Mohammad El-Mezain, Ghassan Elashi, Mufid Abdulqader and Abdulrahman Odeh, who had founded the Muslim community charity in 1990.
The five were accused of giving material support to Hamas and in their first trial there was a hung jury. The retrial in Dallas Federal Court began in September 2008, and included unprecedented testimony given in secret by an Israeli spy known simply as “Avi”. The defence team was unable to question Avi’s background and credentials.
Judge Jorge Solis did tell the jury that it was allowed to weigh the agent’s credibility in light of his anonymity, but he brushed aside the defendants’ right under the Sixth Amendment “to be confronted with the witnesses against him.” Nothing in the US Constitution until then permitted conviction by anonymous accusations, but the court went ahead and convicted all five men.
One accusation in the 108-count indictment stated that the Holy Land Foundation encouraged suicide bombings by providing welfare to the bombers’ orphaned children. It has since emerged that of the 200 suicide bombers who operated in Palestine during that period, none had any children. In fact — and in startling contrast — the HLF actually gave financial assistance to the children of men that Hamas had executed for collaborating with Israel.
It also emerged that the dawn raids and the arrest of the five came in response to allegations made by the state of Israel that the charity was a front for an illegal money-laundering operation, diverting funds to Hamas (declared a terrorist organisation by the US under President Bill Clinton) via Zakat Committees in the Occupied West Bank.
Similar allegations led to British charity Interpal being designated by the US as a “global terrorist entity” in 2003 without a shred of evidence ever being produced by the American (or Israeli) government. That designation is still in place today, despite Interpal operating legally in Britain and still delivering aid to Palestinians in need.
During the second HLF trial the men were convicted of providing “material support” to Hamas and, in 2009, were sentenced to between 15 and 65 years in prison. The trial has been exposed as a farce in a hard-hitting book published last year by Mike Peled, the son of a famous Israeli general and a passionate anti-Zionist.
Peled interviewed the convicted men as well as their families, and even visited the men’s birthplaces in the West Bank. His detailed account of the case of the Holy Land Foundation Five proves without a shadow of a doubt that this was a political case driven forward by the Zionist lobbies and Israel to undermine, intimidate and criminalise anyone working for or donating money to charities helping needy Palestinians.
The fact of the matter is simple: it is impossible to distribute money in occupied Palestine without seeking the permission of the authorities in charge. In the occupied West Bank, money will go to charities registered not only with the Palestinian Authority but also Israel, and in some cases the Jordanian government.
Money transfers will have to be cleared by the Israeli banking system, and if anyone goes in person on behalf of a charity, they will have to get clearance from the same authorities to enter the country.
In the case of the Gaza Strip, this means the democratically-elected government run by Hamas, and all charities have to be registered with the PA and Israelis. No money changes hands in this process, but aid agencies and charities operate by permission of the authorities.
Now that we know that Qatar despatched an envoy carrying $180 million in cash to Gaza with the green light for this coming from Tel Aviv, then it should be grounds for an appeal by the Holy Land Foundation Five as it drives a tank through the nonsense of the ubiquitous “material support” argument.
The US justice system should hang its head in shame as these men continue to languish in prison for doing nothing more than humanitarian work. The real criminals are not those putting bread in the mouths of Palestinian children, but those in the Trump Administration who would rather watch the children of Gaza starve than let them have a semblance of a normal life in what are extremely abnormal circumstances.
‘During the Holy Month of Ramadan, like Muslims, we eat Qatayef and buy Ramadan lights for our kids. We also celebrate Eidul-Fitr and Eidul-Adha like the Muslims, who also celebrate Christmas’
By Motasem A Dalloul
Muslims and Christians in Gaza live as one family. Like Muslims, Chrsitians take part in fighting Israeli occupation and are currently suffering the harsh effects of the Israeli siege.
Samer Tarazi, 39, was at his desk giving instructions to a news producer and a cameraman at Al-Watania Media Agency on the ninth floor of Al-Jawhara Building in the centre of Gaza City when I met him. “Please,” he told his colleagues, “go to Al-Attareen Market and take shots of people shopping and get vox-pops for them commenting on the deteriorating economic situation here.”
The two young men went to work and Tarazi’s secretary told him that his mother was on the phone from Australia. He apologised to me and spoke with her for about five minutes. “I have not seen her for ten years,” he explained; his parents and all of his family members migrated to Australia 10 years ago.
“If the international community does not stop Israel’s aggression against the Palestinians,” the technical director of Al-Watania told me, “you will not see any Christians in Gaza within a decade.”
Tarazi lived happily with his family until 2007, when the Israeli occupation authorities imposed a strict siege on the Gaza Strip which has virtually paralysed social and economic life. Tens of thousands of Palestinians have fled the siege, including Tarazi’s family, but the situation for Christians is very different to that of the Palestinian Muslim citizens.
There are two Christian communities in Gaza – Catholic and Orthodox — but there are no precise statistics for them. Neither of the two Churches in Gaza keeps such records, but according to Tarazi there were more than 30,000 Christians in Gaza in 1948.
By 1987, though, when the First Intifada started, the number was only 18,000 and it has continued to decline because of Israeli aggression against the Palestinians. By 2006 there were just 2,500 Palestinian Christians in the enclave. “Today,” said Tarazi, “there are only 800.”
According to the director of public relations at Saint Porphyrius Church in Gaza’s Old City, it is indeed the Israeli aggression which is the main reason for the declining Christian population in the besieged territory.
“We are part of the Palestinian people and we are affected by everything that affects everyone else,” Kamel Ayyad pointed out. “We experience all forms suffering under the Israeli occupation like our fellow citizens.
“Christians who left Gaza and those who are thinking of leaving are escaping from the occupation, siege and military offensives. They are looking for stability and freedom of movement.”
Both Tarazi and Ayyad stressed that restricted movement is an issue for them because it affects an essential part of their life; celebrating religious holidays with relatives and friends and people of their faith is important for them.
Like all of Gaza’s residents, most of the Christians have relatives in the occupied West Bank and Israel, but because of the lack of travel permits, they cannot celebrate their holidays together.
Since 2007, few Christians from Gaza have obtained travel permits to go to the West Bank and Jerusalem during the holiday season. “Israel says it issues 500 travel permits every year,” noted Tarazi, “but actually the figure is more like 200 at most.”
Tarazi has three children, all of them under ten years old. “They had travel permits this year, but neither their mother nor I had one,” he told me. “How can they travel without their parents? This is what happens with many families who get permits.”
“We cannot visit the Church of the Nativity or the Church of the Holy Sepulchre,” said Ayyad, “even though they are a stone’s throw from our homes. Christians from around the world can visit them and pray there, but we can’t.”
He also blamed the Israeli occupation for the emigration of Christians from Gaza because of the strict siege. “Like other Palestinians, Christians leave the Strip to look for work and a better life.”
Christians are not crusaders
Throughout history, Christians have been part of Palestinian society. They are an intrinsic element of Palestinian history, tradition and culture.
One Christian resident of Gaza pointed out that they are not a minority. “We are part of Palestinian society,” insisted George Antwan. “We have the same history and we share the same traditions and culture.
During the Holy Month of Ramadan, like Muslims, we eat Qatayef and buy the Ramadan lights for our kids. We also celebrate Eidul-Fitr and Eidul-Adha like the Muslims, who also celebrate Christmas.”
Christian and Muslim Palestinians exchange visits during social and religious occasions. Muslims visit the Churches and congratulate Christians on their holidays and attend their social and religious events. Christians do the same on the Muslims’ special days.
“Our forefathers fought alongside Salahuddin Al-Ayoubi against the Crusaders who invaded Palestine,” added Antwan.
This shared struggle was also mentioned by Ayyad, who has been banned from travelling by Israel for three years: “We are fighting the Israeli occupation side-by-side with the Muslims. We are part of the Palestine resistance.”
All Christians that I met, including the Greek Orthodox Archbishop Alexios at Saint Porphyrius Church, told me that they maintain good relations with the ordinary people in Gaza, as well as with the Islamist rulers of the coastal territory.
When asked about allegations of religious persecution by Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement which governs Gaza, Tarazi stressed: “We have never had any form of discrimination in in Gaza.”
“Hamas leaders visit the Church and we maintain good relations with them,” said Ayyad. “However, we all hope that the political division is ended soon and the Islamic Movement is united with the other Palestinian factions.”
Antwan admitted that sometimes there are problems. “But this is not the norm. When it does happen, though, we do not feel that Muslims take the side of their fellow Muslim, they deal with the situation without any consideration for the religious background of the protagonists.”
At the start of this month, a delegation from Hamas visited the Church of Saint Porphyrius and met with Archbishop Alexios. The delegation discussed social relations, tolerance and fraternal relations between Muslim and Christian Palestinians. Such values are core principles for the Palestinian people, Hamas insisted.
During the meeting, delegation member Basem Na’im pointed out that the Israelis do not distinguish between the two faith groups when they attack Palestinians. “Christians live securely in Palestine,” added Maher Al-Houli. “They are equal to Muslim residents, and this visit confirms our shared values of coexistence and peace.”
Archbishop Alexios expressed his thanks and appreciation for the visit to the Church. He noted that this is an example of the tolerance and coexistence between Muslims and Christians in Palestine.
“We, as Christians, do not feel that we are isolated in Gaza, and Hamas reciprocates love, respect and appreciation with us,” the Archbishop concluded. “The Christian community in the territory is an integral part of the Palestinian people, and shares the same suffering and same hopes.”